Historic Men Talking By a Fire

Elvis, Prince, and Betty White sat by a dying fire, inside a camp site. Elvis was pressing a s’more together, the lava-hot marshmallow ejaculating onto the chubby skin next to his palm. Between them, they had had more than everything they could shake a stick at.

“Hey, little man,” he said to Prince. “Does it bother you that your legacy is found in that Dr. Pepper commercial, with that weird dude in the purple scarf? Isn’t he supposed to be you?”

“Paulie Shore,” Prince whispered. “Supposed to be him.” His face curled into a mischievous, disrespectful curl.

Elvis popped another marshmallow, this one on fire, into his mouth. “Mmmm,” he sighed.

“We’re icons,” Prince added, “but we more represent every man.”

“That’s a big order, but you’re sort of the size of Lisa Marie, when she was born. How’s that for iconic.”

“You died taking a crap,” Betty White snapped at The King. “Don’t let him bother you, honey,” she said to Prince, who nodded. “We have bigger fish to fry.”

“Flart addack, not thit,” Elvis said, through his treat. “How blout you?”

“Sometimes men have an urge and they think they have to crap all over the place,” Betty said. “But it’s really their hearts. They confuse a weak heart with being a shit.”

“Yo, Betty,” Prince said. She leaned in so she could hear his quiet voice. “How did you die? You were still okay when I was prowling around.”

“Oh, I’m not dead.” Betty said. Her voice almost sounded like a chirp. “I may just live forever, doing what needs to be done. We can’t just drink Doc Snickens Miracle Cure for something as big as this.”

The fire shot up and raged suddenly. Some of Elvis’s fringe sparked at the ends, ready to go up. “You, men always thought you’d be in heaven.” Betty said. “but, do you know why you’re here instead?”

They looked at each other, then looked down. Prince took the red hot poker and stabbed himself, slowly inserting the rod at the speed of a sword devoured by a swallower. Elvis dangled the sleeve of his jacket over the flame and soon he was on engulfed. “I’m sorry for everything, Priscilla,” he wailed.

Betty gathered up the graham crackers, the Hersey bars and the marshmallows, and placed them in the shopping bag she’d brought from home. “Times have changed, don’t you know?” she said. Elvis and Prince returned to the campfire as big men were shrinking to normal, only to die again, and again.

Timothy Gager is the author of thirteen books of short fiction and poetry. Chief Jay Strongbow is Real (Big Table Publishing) is his first book of poetry in four years. He’s hosted the successful Dire Literary Series in Cambridge, Massachusetts since 2001 and was the co-founder of Somerville News Writers Festival.

He has had over 400 works of fiction and poetry published and of which twelve have been nominated for the Pushcart Prize. His work has been read on National Public Radio.

Cesar Valtierra is a graphic designer from El Paso, TX and the creator of the webcomic, Balazo.